Ah, the sweet smell of astroturf.
As you can see, things didn't go quite according to plan. If you check mainstream media, however, you learn it was a tremendous success. Which doesn't explain why Andrew Breitbart -- after complaining about the lack of civility -- told the booing crowd to "go to hell."
Almost nothing about this rally was real. The only thing grassroots about this was the boisterous counter-protest. The stage, the PA, that big plasma screen monitor for the people in the back, even the crowd, were all paid for by Americans For Prosperity, a Koch-funded front group.
You'd think that after Gov. Walker's embarrassing "Koch call" incident, the Koch brothers would be keeping a low profile in the state. Yet "Americans For Prosperity" was plastered over everything. Tea Partiers like to say they aren't affiliated with any corporations, but where do they think the speakers and the buses and the plasma screen monitors and the PAs and the stages come from? You just sign a petition and these things just show up by magic? Do they believe they're supplied by the power of prayer? I'm at a loss to explain the chumpishness of your average 'bagger.
But if the evidence of corporate influence was everywhere, it was ineffective. Have polling numbers switched the other way now? There's been no polling done since the Saturday infomercial for Koch Industries, but I feel pretty safe in answering no. I mean, Andy Breitbart jets in, tells Wisconsinites to go to hell, jets out, and that's supposed to change something? Palin's big speech lasted all of fifteen minutes; this is a game-changer?
After weeks of sustained protests, AFP manages to bus a modest crowd in for an afternoon and you really have to wonder why. I'm being on the level when I say that it seems like a waste of money to me. Because, in the end, I doubt it changed a damned thing. And Sarah Palin's fifteen minute star turn blew a portion of that quarter-hour attacking Barack Obama. Anyone who's been paying attention knows that the president has been largely absent from this fight. President Obama literally had nothing to do with anything -- as any union-supporter will tell you -- so why waste time attacking him in this half-hearted effort to "save" Wisconsin?
Of course, part of this had nothing to do with Wisconsin, it was merely a photo op meant for 'baggers in the rest of the country, who've been convinced that Madison is a dangerous place filled with violent thugs and communist party members. Sarah, Andy, and the rest of the Celebrities For Prosperity walked bravely and brazenly deep into enemy territory to TELL THE TRUTH about Liberty and Freedom and Tea Bags and insert-buzzword-here. It's a wonder they weren't killed by the New Black Panthers and the Muslim Brotherhood.
And the fact that the state was used as a prop gives you an measure of how much these people care about Wisconsin. Sarah Palin cared so much she flew in, spoke for fifteen minutes, then flew out. Breitbart cared so much he told us to go to hell. Without the guarantee of cameras and coverage, neither would've shown up, because neither gives a damn about the state. All they care about are the electoral votes in '12. And, apparently, they don't even care much about those, since the effort put into this whole thing was so weak as to make the event no more than symbolic.
And, if you were in that bused-in crowd, trying to cheer louder than all the boos, know this: the Celebrities For Prosperity don't give a damn about you, either.